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Amputee Wins Olympic Right, Amputee Swimmer Qualifies

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius won a landmark appeal from the Court of Arbitration for Sport allowing the runner to compete for a slot in the Beijing Olympics despite a previous ban on his artificial legs.

Nicknamed "Bladerunner," Pistorius runs on specially-adapted carbon fiber blades and said of the ruling,

I am going to try and make it to Beijing. I have a few chances ahead of me and I will try to make the most of them. . . Sport brings people together and it doesn't divide or judge. This decision will open new doors for disabled athletes. Happily, the CAS considered the question a scientific matter and only looked to determine if my blades gave me an advantage or not. Handicapped or able-bodied, for me there is no difference. I'm just a sprinter and it is this that people see me as.

It was a big day all around for differently-bodied South African athletes. South African swimmer and amputee Natalie Du Toit qualified for the Beijing Olympics after finishing fourth in the 10K race in the Open Water World Championships.

Is the decision to let Pistorius compete fair? The swimmer doesn't use a prosthesis, while the runner does — should there be a difference? Is it a great victory for sports?


Join The Conversation
CiaoBella2 CiaoBella2 9 years
I saw Oscar Pistorius' story on the nightly news about a month ago and was blown away by his dedication to the sport of running. Good for him, he is an example for others with disabilities that anything is possible.
kraken kraken 9 years
Whatever the case may be, they both kick ass.
stephley stephley 9 years
It's 'device' isn't it?
stephley stephley 9 years
You're probably right Raci. Those things do look miserably uncomfortable to run on - it looks as if he would have crazy balance issues. It is a weird area to start considering - do we hold separate races for each devise?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
My problem with allowing him in the competition is this: if he ever wins, there is no way people will consider this a fair competition. Everyone will say "he's got prosthetic legs, of course he won!" And that will mar his victory. Now, if he loses and then tries to make his prosthetic limbs more capable and more efficient, then the Olympics will quickly turn into Battlebots; who ever builds the best, most efficient cyborg-prosthetics will win. We are opening a door to some very weird precedents.
syako syako 9 years
I just wanted to say that when my husband (from Ukraine) hears stories like this - you typically hear them about Americans doing Iron man races, etc - he always says how absolutely unfathomable this is in his country. People who have disabilities, handicaps, etc. are most of the time shunned and brought to a home somewhere to pretty much just rot. He always tells me how amazing it is that we live in a country where even if you lose both of your legs, you're still able to fulfill your dreams. I know. I know. I'm getting all emotional, but sometimes we get so caught up in criticizing government, politicians, each other, that we forget how darn lucky we are to live in a place where a disability can actually turn into an ability. :hug:
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 9 years
I a not happy for that. I think he has not to compete with's not right.
MaraJade06014 MaraJade06014 9 years
If they did the testing and the prosthesis does not give him an advantage, I don't see why not. I think it would be hard to prove either way, but I think that this is a landmark decision that might help athletes who become disabled keep their Olympic dreams alive.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Tell me about it Rac. I can barely get vacation time in because of it this is a good thing, as long as they keep a very close I on the "replacement/artificial" legs. When those devices begin to give the runner an advantage, it's time to reset the standards. At least the IOC is almost fair and impartial.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Sleep just takes time out of my busy "commenting on CS" schedule.
stephley stephley 9 years
You don't sleep in on weekends either? I wish I could.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I guess now is the time to reveal to the world my Cyborg-Olympic body suit and crush all before me in the floor gymnastics competition! :robot:
stephley stephley 9 years
It's not like they're jet powered legs. I would think he's still at a disadvantage because he's got to balance on the blades and all the control comes from the thigh (probably doesn't make any sense scientifically, but it seems like it would be harder.)
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